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Making Lemonade: Refusing to be Defeated

I keep trying to write about the phrase "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade", but the result always makes me want to punch myself in the throat - like I deserve a good throat-punch for writing something so cheery.

So let me put it like this:

I was once taught that losing is a personal problem. That if you can't find a way to win in any situation, you're not trying hard enough. Forget that "there is no trying, only doing" crap. The problem with that is that when life kicks your ass, you have failed to "do", and you're basically left holding your ass in your hands as Yoda's philosophy dissolves faster than an Alka-Seltzer going over Niagara Falls.

No, go ahead. Try and fail. Figure out what doesn't work. But forget Yoda, listen to Einstein: the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over expecting different results. However, Einstein said nothing about giving up, simply implying that you shouldn't keep doing what you know doesn't work.

Losing is a personal problem because only you can give yourself permission to lose for good. To lose permanently is to give up trying. To lose is to accept defeat as the status quo, and to be okay with that. To lose (permanently) is to settle, but to simply try and fail is nothing to lose sleep over - failure is merely a part of the learning process.

Perseverance, it would seem is the word of the day. Perseverance is certainly a part of it, but it's only a part of the equation; a human is not a beast of burden, meant to carry a heavy load over long distances. Someone who's good at being a human is a good problem-solver; they don't do what they know doesn't work, they aren't insane by Einstein's definition.

That's where "making lemonade" comes in. Making the best lemonade requires more than lemons, sugar, and water; it requires boundless confidence, even arrogance where there's no confidence to be found; the arrogance required to refuse to accept defeat.

But sometimes, the score is 7-14. Sometimes, you're going to lose if you rely on other people to tell you what the score is. That's where you have to win one for yourself. Look for the victories in your failings; look for the silver linings. If you can find the silver lining in any situation, you cannot ever truly be defeated.

For the purposes of illustration, I have chronic pain in my hip. It's new, I'm not used to it, and it hurts, but the doc says it's here to stay. Most people, if they were telling me what the score is, would say I've really lost. But if I'm the one doing the telling about what the score really is, then I would say I've scored big with this pain: I've always had trouble waking up in the morning and getting to work on time, but the pain prevents me from sleeping in. I've been early to work every single day since the onset of the pain.

That's the essence of making lemonade, aka finding the silver lining. The pain is here one way or the next, but I've found a way to count it in the "W" column. You can do it with any problem at all; find a way to win. Find a positive and latch on to it for dear life. Learn from the negative, don't sell your soul to it, and your pain too can be made to serve you.


I'm not sure the "lemons to lemonade" idea works for this situation. My only advice is to acknowledge the difference between pain and suffering. This seems to be a situation of pain, which I would hope is being managed by good medical professionals. A lot of people, mostly older people, live with body aches and pains. They learn ways to reduce the discomfort, though they rarely find ways to make it go away completely. The fact that you have so many expressions about turning something bad into something good means that you can easily rally toward positive thinking. That is an asset worth embracing. Don't let the hurt take you over. Let your positive spirit have free reign.
You couldn't have said it better! And this-- "and you're basically left holding your ass in your hands as Yoda's philosophy dissolves faster than an Alka-Seltzer going over Niagara Falls.." :)

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